Abortion - The termination of pregnancy before 20 weeks of gestation.
spontaneous - A naturally occurring pregnancy loss in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. habitual -Three or more spontaneous abortions in a row. incomplete -An abortion accompanied by pain and bleeding that does not eliminate all embryonic and fetal tissue inside the uterus. missed -The loss of a fetus without any noticeable symptoms, or a loss without complete elimination of the fetus. A D&C is required to complete the abortion. therapeutic -The termination of a pregnancy when the mother’s health is threatened. threatened -Spotting and/or cramping that occurs within the first 20 weeks of gestation that indicates a miscarriage might occur.
ACTH - Hormone produced by the pituitary gland that stimulates the adrenal gland. Abnormal levels are sometimes associated with infertility.
Adhesion - Bands of scar tissue in the abdominal area and reproductive organs that can impact fertility; adhesions often appear with endometriosis.
Adrenal Androgens - Male hormones produced by the adrenal gland that are sometimes elevated in women with PCOS, causing fertility problems.
Amenorrhea - The absence of menstruation for six months or more
primary - Having never menstruated by the age of 16 secondary - The absence of menstruation for three months or more in women who have had menstrual cycles in the past.
American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) - Multidisciplinary group of fertility and reproductive specialists that teach, do research on and advocate for reproductive medicine.
Amniocentesis - Checking for abnormalities of the fetus by using a needle to extract amniotic fluid from the womb.
Andrologist - A doctor that specializes in the area of male health, particularly male fertility and reproductive health.
Anovulation - Lack of ovulation that can occur with or without menstruation
Antibodies - Substances made by males and females that attack foreign matter and help prevent infection; may also cause infertility in certain cases.
Artificial Insemination (AI) - The injection of sperm directly into a female’s vagina, cervix or uterus, for fertilization of the egg.
Asherman's Syndrome - A condition that occurs when scar tissue forms inside the uterus, possibly leading to infertility or menstrual irregularities.
Aspiration - The suctioning of fluid or tissue from the body, usually with a needle or tube.
Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) - Fertility treatments that include the handling of both the egg and the sperm; includes IUI, IVF, GIFT, and ZIFT.
Assisted hatching - A procedure used to break down the thick outer wall of an embryo, to facilitate implantation.
Asthenozoospermia - Sperm that are of poor quality due to reduced motility.
Azoospermia - The absence of sperm in semen that is sometimes caused by blockages.
Canceled cycle - Stopping an ART cycle due to problems with follicle development, lack of fertilization, or other issues.
Candidiasis - An infection sometimes found in the vagina that is caused by a fungus and can cause burning, itching and discomfort.
Complete Blood Count (CBC) - A blood test that measures red and white blood cells, hemoglobin and other factors to diagnose and assess potential disease.
Cervical mucus - Mucus produced by the cervix that changes consistency during a woman’s monthly cycle.
Cervical smear - A cellular sample that is extracted from the cervix and examined for cancer or other abnormalities.
Cervix - A one-inch long canal located above the vagina at the lower end of the uterus through which blood passes during menstruation, sperm travels into to reach the fallopian tubes, and the baby passes through during labor.
Cervix, incompetent - The cervix opens during pregnancy before the baby is developed and labor is ready to begins.
Chemical pregnancy - This accounts for most miscarriages as the egg implants itself but the embryo doesn’t develop.
Chocolate cyst - Ovarian cysts containing old blood that has turned brown.
Chromosome - Structures that hold our genetic material.
Cilia - Hair like structures that help the egg move inside the fallopian tubes
Clinical pregnancy - A pregnancy that is confirmed with a clinical intervention like an ultrasound.
Clomiphene citrate - A medication that causes a surge of gonadotropins from the pituitary gland and stimulates ovulation to boost fertility.
Corpus luteum - Endocrine tissue that secretes progesterone after ovulation and during pregnancy to boost implantation.
Cryopreservation - Preserving eggs, embryos, and sperm in a controlled freezing environment for fertility treatment and ART.
Cushing's syndrome - An excess of corticosteroids, like cortisol that can affect fertility and cause weight gain, male sex characteristics and other symptoms in women.
Cycle - A round of fertility treatment that takes about a month between start and completion.
Cyst - A sac surrounded by a membrane; may or may not cause health problems.
Dilation and Curettage (D&C) - A procedure to dilate the cervix and scrape away the uterine lining.
Danazol (danocrine) - A synthetic androgen drug used to treat endometriosis that may cause acne, changes in breast size, weight gain, and other symptoms.
DES (Diethylstilbestrol) - A synthetic form of estrogen used between 1938-1971 to prevent miscarriage and premature birth yet since this time has been found to cause cancer and other health problems in some babies that were exposed to it in utero.
DHEAS (Dihydroepiandrosterone Sulfate)- A weak male hormone produced by the adrenal gland in some women that, in high doses, can cause excess hair growth and other symptoms.
Donor egg - Eggs donated by healthy young women that can be implanted in infertile women for pregnancy.
Donor insemination- Injection of donor sperm into a woman’s vagina, cervix, or uterus during artificial insemination
Donor embryo transfer- Donor egg and/or donor sperm are transferred to a woman’s uterus during IVF to help her get pregnant
Donor sperm - Sperm, which are donated by men who are screened for illnesses, ethnicity, build and other characteristics, and then usually frozen and held for six months or more before use in artificial insemination or ART.
Immature sperm (germinal cell) - Sperm that are not fully mature and that have low motility.
Implantation - After fertilization, the egg starts to embed into the uterine lining where it starts to develop as an embryo.
Impotence - A situation where a man cannot have erections or ejaculate semen.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) - Meaning "in glass," this assisted reproductive technology (ART) process involves ovulation induction, extraction of the egg from the ovary, and combining the egg with the sperm outside of the female’s body for fertilization.
Infertility - For women under 35, this means the inability to get pregnant or carry a pregnancy to term when trying to conceive one year, and for women over 35, infertility is the inability to get pregnant or carry a pregnancy to term when trying to conceive for six months.
Injectables - Fertility medications (usually ovulation induction medications) that are injected.
Insemination- The introduction of sperm into a woman’s body for fertilization
Intracervical Insemination (ICI) - Artificial insemination procedure where sperm are injected directly into a woman’s cervix with a syringe and catheter.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) - The injection of a single sperm into an egg, usually used with IVF.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) - Sperm are collected and washed to prepare for insemination directly into a woman’s uterus with a catheter and syringe.
Pap test - A test to detect abnormal (cancerous) cells in the cervix.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) - Infection within the pelvis that can cause fever, pain and possibly infertility and may lead to the development of scar tissue and/or tubal problems.
Pituitary gland - A gland located at the base of the brain known as the “master gland of the endocrine system” that releases and regulates the body’s hormones.
Placenta - This organ connects the fetus to the uterus via the umbilical cord, providing nutrients and oxygen for development.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS or "Stein Leventhal Syndrome") - A hormonal disturbance linked to infrequent ovulation that may include symptoms like menstrual problems, weight gain, pain, infertility, and hair/skin problems.
Post coital test (PCT) - A test done several hours after intercourse to look for the presence of healthy, active sperm, fertile-quality cervical mucus, and healthy sperm-mucus interaction.
Premature ovarian failure (POF) - A syndrome associated with high levels of gonadotropins and low levels of estrogen, often causing menstruation to end before age 40.
Primary Infertility - Infertility in couples that have never had a successful pregnancy or in couples that have gotten pregnant but never had a live birth.
Progesterone - The corpus luteum in the ovary produces this hormone that prepares the uterus for pregnancy after ovulation.
Prolactin - A hormone that helps women to make breastmilk after childbirth and in women that are not nursing, abnormal levels can hinder ovulation, possibly causing infertility.
Pronuclear stage tubal transfer (PROST) (ZIFT) - An assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedure where eggs are retrieved, fertilized by sperm in vitro and then transferred to the woman’s body before the cells divide.
Prostaglandins - These hormone-like substances are found in both men and women while sperm washing techniques remove prostaglandins during artificial insemination to reduce cramping in the woman’s body.
Prostate gland - A male gland circling the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body.
Recurrent Pregnancy Loss - Refers to two or more failed pregnancies, especially if they happen successively.
Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) - Doctors trained in obstetrics and gynecology that are board certified in reproductive endocrinology - the study of fertility, glands and hormones.
Retrograde Ejaculation - When the semen is ejaculated, it travels backwards into the bladder due to a problem with the sphincter muscle
Rh Factor - A protein found in red blood cells in most people, yet if the fetus has Rh factor in the blood but the mother does not, the mother’s body will produce antibodies that start to attack red blood cells in the fetus.